Claddagh is an Irish fishing village located just outside the old city walls of Galway, now part of Galway City. The Irish Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring given as a representation of love, loyalty, and friendship. The design and customs associated with it originated in the 17th century in Claddagh.
It belongs to a group of European finger rings called "fede rings". The name "fede" derives from the Italian phrase mani in fede ("hands joined in faith" or "hands joined in loyalty". Fede rings are cast in the form of two clasped hands, symbolizing faith and trust, while the Irish Claddagh ring features two hands clasping a heart, topped by a crown. The heart represents love, the hands friendship, and, the crown loyalty.
Some people think there is a definition for the word 'Claddagh', but there really isn't, it's just a city in Ireland. Because of the unique design of a Claddagh ring there is, however, great meaning and symbolism behind the Claddagh ring. read on!
The Claddagh Story – Folklore & Myth or Reality?
The Irish Claddagh ring has so much folklore and myth attached to it that it is difficult to know where legend ends and truth begins. The one with perhaps the most credence is generally accorded to the belief that the design originated with an early eighteenth century Galway goldsmith by the name of Richard Joyce, who is said to have invented the Irish Claddagh design as we know it.
Legend has it that Joyce was captured and enslaved by Algerian Corsairs around 1675 while on a passage to the West Indies. He was subsequently sold into slavery to a Moorish goldsmith who taught him the craft. King William III sent an ambassador to Algeria to demand the release of all British subjects who were enslaved there, which included Richard Joyce. After fourteen years in captivity, Joyce was released and returned to Galway and brought along with him the ring he had fashioned while in captivity, what is now known as the Claddagh Ring. He gave the ring to his sweetheart, married, and became a goldsmith. His initials are in one of the earliest surviving Claddagh rings.
Claddagh Symbols and Design
The Claddagh Ring has a very specific design and accompanying symbols: Two hands holding a heart with a crown. Another design with two hands clasping each other, but without the crown, is also often referred to as a Claddagh ring, although technically, that design is really more of a fede ring than a traditional Claddagh ring. We offer both designs.
Claddagh Meaning – Love, Friendship and Loyalty
The Irish Claddagh meaning is also very specific: The heart is a symbol of love, the hands friendship, and, the crown loyalty.
Irish Claddagh Rings are often used most often as friendship rings, but are also commonly used as engagement and wedding rings. Mothers also sometimes give these rings to their daughters when they come of age. In many countries, including the United States, Canada, and of course, Ireland, the Claddagh is often handed down from mother to eldest daughter or from grandmother to granddaughter. Claddagh rings were traditionally passed through generations as wedding rings and heirlooms. It's considered bad luck to buy one for yourself; it must be given as a gift. And it might surprise you, but men's claddagh rings are nearly as popular as Claddagh rings for the ladies.
How to Wear an Irish Claddagh Ring
Traditionally, as mentioned above, there is meaning and symbolism with Claddagh rings, which is also true for how you wear a Claddagh ring. Wearing the ring on your right hand with the heart facing away from you shows that you are looking for love, while wearing it with the heart facing toward you indicates that you are in a relationship. Wearing a Claddagh ring on your left hand with the heart facing away from you shows that you are engaged, while wearing it with the heart facing toward you indicates that you are married.
Claddagh Puzzle Rings
Towards the end of the 20th century there was an explosion of interest in both puzzle rings and Claddagh rings. It is no surprise then, that a ring that is BOTH a Claddagh ring and a puzzle ring would be especially appealing. A ring that combines both the meaning of the Irish Claddagh and the fun of a puzzle ring adds another level of fascination and uniqueness that our customer have found irresistible. Why settle for a basic Claddagh ring when you could have a Claddagh puzzle ring? Check out our super-popular 3CL Ladies' Claddagh Ring, which is also a 3-band puzzle ring. (The same ring 3CL Men’s Claddagh Ring is also available for men.)